Quilting Applique Quilt Patterns
Once you have machine appliqued a design on a quilt do you quilt over the applique or just around it? Does it matter?
It matters if it matters to you!
I've seen applique quilts where the entire quilt was stitched with a big background fill pattern. The quilting merely served to hold the layers together. It may be the quilt was intended for someone who didn't appreciate all the effort that went into its making. Possibly the maker just didn't want to spend any more time or money. It happens. And it's a choice that YOU, the quilter, get to make.
At a show several years ago, I saw a beautiful hand appliqued quilt with some serious quilting to "smush" down the background. The applique was also trapuntoed with very little stitching through it. The final effect was of over stuffed fruit. It that case, the extra effort didn't pay off in my humble opinion.
Quilting A New Applique Quilt
Yeah! The quilting's almost done!
This is my current invisible machine applique project. It is our first applique pattern which will be available this summer. The quilting is finished except for the gold basket in the center.
Personally, I like to quilt with 100% Hobbs Wool Batting for anything that will have a lot of quilting. The wool stands up to the quilting and stays supple. It can be blocked (if it's unevenly quilted), to make it square and hang nice in the end.
This entire quilt was free motion quilted with an open toe darning foot. I quilted it in the following order:
- Ditch quilted around the outside of every applique and embroidered shape. (Yes, that includes all the stems, too!) I ditch quilted around all the petals and leaves of the yellow flowers at this time, too, because I could do it with only one or two stops and starts.
- Ditch quilted between the burgundy piping and the outer blue border (Yes, free motion.)
- Quilted the feathered design in the outer border and echo quilted it once.
Free motion quilting in a pebbles
pattern for the background fill.
- By now I had decided that all of the darkest blue in the scrolls needed to be quilted. Wool batting is puffy and it was a bit too puffy for the look I wanted.
- Next came all those tiny pebbles. I love doing those even if they take awhile and a lot of thread. There was almost four spools of pale blue 100 wt silk thread in this quilt top. I used a neutral color of Superior Threads Bottom Line in the bobbin.
- I ended with the echo quilting of the outside border
Evaluate the Effect
Now that it's all quilted, I have decided to go back and add some quilting to the three yellow baskets. To make the job easier, I'll hand baste snugly with water soluble thread (the quilt will be blocked) to control the "puff" so I don't quilt tucks into those sections.
Wool batting adds nice dimension to both the applique and the feather quilting.
To reduce the amount of puff in an applique shape, add more quilting. To maximize puff, reduce the quilting.
Quilting your applique shapes can also add details that may be too small to applique... think flower stamens, bird feathers, chimney bricks, etc.
Cotton batting produces less "puff" in the quilt and you may be able to get away with less quilting within the applique shapes.
Readers! Do you have any other suggestions? Do join in!
I hope this has given you some ideas for quilting your applique quilt designs!